Career Information

What is a CPA (Certified Public Accountant)?

A certified public accountant is an individual who has passed a national uniform examination and has met other certifying requirements; CPA licenses are issued and monitored by state boards of accountancy or similar agencies. If you think you would enjoy and excel in the following areas, you should consider becoming a CPA!

  • Advising others on business planning or financial decisions
  • Traveling, meeting new clients and interacting with a diverse group of professionals
  • Thriving on variety
  • Working with details and thinking creatively
  • Communicating with others – both in writing and verbally

What skills does a CPA need?

Accounting professors, partners in accounting firms and recruiters agree that landing a good first job requires:

  • High grades
  • A good attitude and strong communication skills
  • Analytical, critical thinking and problem solving abilities
  • A solid track record of participation and leadership in extracurricular activities, both in and outside of the accounting field

While you are in school, work to build a record demonstrating all three of these areas.

The following are some of the subject areas students should focus on in college in order to become a well-rounded CPA: financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, business law, communication, economics, ethics, finance, international business, information systems and marketing.

How much money does a CPA make? 

Click here to access current salary data for accounting and finance positions from the Robert Half Salary Guide. According to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), CPAs typically earn 10-15 percent more than non-licensed accountants working in accounting and finance-related jobs.

Why should I become a CPA?

CPAs are trusted business advisors who perform a wide variety of work, from calculating an individual’s taxes to certifying the financial statements of large corporations.  The expectations of CPAs are demanding, but rewarding. While the path to becoming a CPA involves a rigorous course of study, the professional responsibility and career possibilities are unmatched:

  • Increased earning potential
  • Strong hiring demand and job security
  • Credibility associated with a well-respected credential
  • Ability to continually learn and advance in a constantly changing business environment
  • Opportunities to work in a wide variety of practice areas, such as public accounting, private industry, education and government, with dynamic and challenging responsibilities   

What steps do I need to take to become a CPA?

Earning the CPA license requires meeting certain education and experience requirements, along with passing a four-part exam and ethics component. For information and resources that can help you navigate the process of preparing for the CPA exam and earning your license, please click here.

Resources